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"Babylon The Great Has Fallen!"
God's Kingdom Rules!



Chapter 22

From Her Fall Till the "Wine Press" Is Trodden

Revelation 14:9-20

EIGHTEEN hundred years beforehand, the apostle John heard an angel prophetically announce the fall of Babylon the Great. After that he saw another angel with a message. He says:

"And another angel, a third, followed them, saying in a loud voice: 'If anyone worships the wild beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, he will also drink of the wine of the anger of God that is poured out undiluted into the cup of his wrath, and he shall be tormented with fire and sulphur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever, and day and night they have no rest, those who worship the wild beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. Here is where it means endurance for the holy ones, those who observe the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."  — Revelation 14:9-12.

As the Revelation to John was presented in signs, the wild beast, which is described in Revelation 13:1-8, is not a literal beast but is a sign or symbol. It symbolizes something to which the Dragon, Satan the Devil, gives power and a throne and great authority. Hence, in harmony with the meaning of the wild beasts described in Daniel, chapter seven, this wild beast that is thus favored by the Great Dragon must symbolize Satan the Devil's visible earthly political organization in its continuing form under varying successive headships throughout the centuries until now, when the Revela-

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tion to John is being fulfilled. Its seven heads bearing ten horns with diadems upon them picture the seven world powers that have waged war on God's holy ones, Jehovah's witnesses, during the four thousand years since Nimrod the mighty hunter founded ancient Babylon. In their historical order, as supported by the Bible account, these seven symbolic heads of the wild beast are (1) Egypt, (2) Assyria, (3) Babylon, (4) Medo-Persia, (5) Greece (Macedonia), (6) Rome, and (7) the joint Anglo-American World Power.

Although blasphemous names appear on the seven heads, the wild beast as a whole has a name. No, its name is not "Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots," which is that world empire of Babylonish religion. John says that its name has a number. "It is a man's number; and its number is six hundred and sixty-six." (Revelation 13:17, 18; 17:5) In the Greek manuscript that John wrote, this number 666 may have been represented by the Greek three letters: Khi (χ=six hundred) Xi (Ξ=sixty) and Digamma (digamma=six).

The number of the wild beast's name is thus seen to be made up of the number six in three stages. The only other place in Revelation where the number six (digamma) occurs is where it describes the four living creatures before God's throne as having six wings, that is, three pairs, in which case a seventh wing would be an irregularity. (Revelation 4:8) However, the Revelation abounds with fifty-two occurrences of the number seven, using it as a symbol of perfection. The number six comes short of seven by one, just as six days would come one day short of a week. Since a "man's number" is here concerned, six stands for fallen man's imperfections and shortcomings.

If we multiply that six by the number of the wild beast's horns, it multiplies that imperfection and deficiency tenfold. And if we square the ten (10 x 10 = 100) and multiply the six by that much, it multiplies the imperfection and deficiency a hundredfold. In the Bible three is a number representing emphasis, as when

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The symbolic wild beast ascending out of the sea

we say a thing three times successively. (Ezekiel 21: 27) So, if we raise six to the third degree in the wild beast's name (6+60+600), it emphasizes the imperfection and deficiency of the human political organization, which is symbolized by the wild beast under Satan's control.

A name stands for an individual or a creature; and here the name means the wild beast. If, now, we add

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up the numerical values of the letters in the name, they add up to nothing but human imperfection and deficiency. Never is perfection attained, even in this scientific space age. So this numerical name of the wild beast simply spells human imperfection and shortcomings, multiplied to the third or final degree. For this reason human politics has brought increasing disappointment to the peoples of all nations.

The effort of the imperfect human political rulers is to get all their subjects to worship them or worship the political state. Just as Babylonish religionists think that they must worship God through some image or idol, the political rulers and statesmen of this world feel that the "wild beast" of political rulership must be worshiped by means of an "image." In their worship of the Devil's visible political system they now feel it necessary to use an image in order to preserve the existence of the symbolic "wild beast."

What, then, is the image of the wild beast? Between World War I and World War II it was the League of Nations, which at one time had as many as sixty member nations, as the worship of the image and of the wild beast was then so great. The League is now dead, and since World War II the "image" has been the United Nations, composed, at this writing, of 111 member nations. Since it is an image of the "wild beast" with the name-number 666, it is an image of human political imperfection and failure. It cannot succeed.

The making of the image was in direct disobedience to the outcry of the first angel with the everlasting good news: "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of the judgment by him has arrived, and so worship the One who made the heaven and the earth." (Revelation 14:6, 7) Worshiping an image turns man's worship and attention away from Jehovah God and his Messianic kingdom. The worshipers of the political state and of the League of Nations deserved punishment at the hands of God the Judge. In order to identify them, they received a mark upon the forehead and

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upon the hand. How? By mentally consenting to and approving of such imperfect political institutions and by lending a hand to them through giving active cooperation. They are clearly marked as being in opposition to Jehovah's kingdom by his Messiah.

Babylon the Great worships the wild beast and its image and thus has received the mark in forehead and hand. The fact is, the most aggressive member in Great Babylon, namely, Christendom, heartily backed up the formation of the League of Nations, as proposed by the Anglo-American World Power in 1918. In January of 1919 the National Council of Churches of Christ in America termed the proposed League of Nations "the political expression of the kingdom of God on earth." Therefore Babylon the Great deserved to be made to "drink of the wine of the anger of God that is poured out undiluted into the cup of his wrath." The beginning of her drinking this undiluted wine of God's anger was when Great Babylon fell in 1919. Her fall was marked by the liberation of Jehovah's witnesses in that year, an event that chagrined and tormented her very much.

Though now fallen according to the judgment of Jehovah God, Great Babylon still exists by his permission. So her drinking of the cup to the very dregs will not be finished till he, by means of his Greater Cyrus, Jesus Christ, destroys her at the end of this world or system of things. In all this interim, while she still exists in her fallen state, she undergoes torment, and the smoke of her torment keeps ascending, in the sight of the holy angels and the Lamb of God. The world empire of Babylonish religion is not immortal; and so her torment could not go on directly for all time.

Those who are infected with her religion and who worship the symbolic wild beast and its image are not immortal, as Babylonish religion teaches; neither is their flesh immortal. Tormenting them with literal fire and sulphur (brimstone) would kill them or hasten their death. But before they are plunged into the "lake" of everlasting destruction, they are tormented with the

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message that tells of the everlasting destruction awaiting them. This is Jehovah's judgment message, which is proclaimed by His witnesses. Little wonder, then, why the worldly religious systems and also the political worshipers of the wild beast and its image desire and try to suppress and destroy Jehovah's witnesses by government decree and persecution. The tormenting destruction of all worshipers of the wild beast and its image will come at the end of this system of things, and that destruction as by fire and sulphur will be forever and ever. The evidence of it will ascend for all time.

From 1919 onward the witnesses of Jehovah have refused to join in this international worship of the political state and the League of Nations and its successor the United Nations. Instead, they have observed the "commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." (Matthew 4: 8-11) Sticking to this course of exclusive worship and devotion to Jehovah God through Jesus Christ has meant "endurance for the holy ones," for the remnant on earth of the anointed 144,000. To this day they have refused to imitate the world and to bow, despite all the persecution by Church and State that this has meant for them. Persecuted they may be, but they do not drink of God's cup of wrath or suffer torment by the destructive fire and sulphur.

"CHANGED, IN A MOMENT"

Some of the anointed remnant suffer death at the hands of the idolatrous worshipers for observing God's commandments and the faith of the Lord Jesus. Yet they have nothing to fear for the future. (Matthew 10: 28; Luke 12: 4, 5) They know that their death is not everlasting, but that there will be heavenly resurrection for them. Giving them consolation of this kind, the apostle John says, right after he tells how the remnant of "holy ones" today need endurance: "And I heard a voice out of heaven say: 'Write: Happy are the dead who die in union with the Lord from this time onward. Yes, says the spirit, let them rest from their labors,

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for the things they did go right with them.' " — Revelation 14:1.3.

If faithful, these anointed holy ones "die in union with the Lord," because they "become united with him in the likeness of his death" that they may "be united with him in the likeness of his resurrection." They are, as it were, "buried with him through our baptism into his death." (Romans 6:3-6) Dying is never pleasant; but these holy ones who die faithful since the beginning of this judgment are pronounced "happy." Why is that? It is because they do not sleep in death awaiting the coming of the Lord Jesus in his Kingdom glory. (Matthew 25:31) Since 1914 this Lamb of God stands with ruling power upon the heavenly Mount Zion. He has come into his kingdom. When he died nineteen centuries ago, he himself slept in the death state for parts of three days. (1 Corinthians 15:20) But as regards the remnant of the 144,000, they do not sleep in death to await the coming of Jesus Christ as King and the beginning of the judgment that results in Babylon's fall. When that judgment starts, as it did in 1918, the Lamb of God is already in his kingdom on the heavenly Mount Zion. So after 1918 they need not sleep in death.

What does that mean for them? This, that immediately after they die, they are resurrected. Since they are to be "united with him in the likeness of his resurrection," they die or are put to death in the flesh, but are "made alive in the spirit." (1 Peter 3:18) Thus they have a spiritual, heavenly resurrection, that is unseen to human eyes. So, in their resurrection, they are changed instantly after dying in the flesh. It is as the apostle Paul foretold it, saying: "Look! I tell you a sacred secret: We shall not all fall asleep in death, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this which is corruptible must put on incorruption, and this which is mortal must put

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on immortality. But when this which is corruptible puts on incorruption and this which is mortal puts on immortality, then the saying will take place that is written: 'Death is swallowed up forever.' " — 1 Corinthians 15:51-54.

Thus, as God's spirit of prophecy said that they would do, they rest from their earthly labors, and the credit for the things that they did in the flesh goes right with them. They continue directly on in the works of Kingdom service, but now in the invisible heavens, for they take their place with the Lamb of God on heavenly Mount Zion. What a happiness this means for them! These dying in the Lord from the time of the judgment onward are instantaneously introduced into this everlasting heavenly happiness.

HARVESTING, THRESHING, TREADING

That this occurs at the time of judgment is further proved by the fact that the telling about such happiness is at once followed by pictures of divine judgment upon worldly earthly organizations. John proceeds to describe these signs by saying: "And I saw, and, look! a white cloud, and upon the cloud someone seated like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand." — Revelation 14:14.

Since the clouds form and float in the heavens, the location of this scene is in the invisible heavens. Jesus, when on our earth, spoke of himself as the Son of man; and since the one "like a son of man" has a golden crown on his head, this one pictures the Lord Jesus Christ after his enthronement on heavenly Mount Zion when the Gentile Times ended in 1914. — Daniel 7:13, 14; Matthew 25:31.

The prophetic picture in Revelation 14: 14 harmonizes with that in Revelation 1: 7; but, rather than indicate the crowned King's coming visibly to human eyes, it denotes his coming invisibly, for the apostle John saw this only by the spirit of inspiration and not by his

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natural eyes. When the resurrected Jesus ascended to heaven nineteen centuries ago, a cloud received him out of the sight of John and his fellow apostles, so that they saw him no more because of the cloud. Likewise here, the fact that he is pictured as seated on a white cloud indicates that he is invisible to natural human eyes and that he comes invisibly, because now he is a glorious spirit person. (Acts 1:9) Inasmuch as from 1914 onward the earth has been made subject to him, he has the right to cut down any growth in it.

Hence within his kingly right he comes, as it were, with a "sharp sickle in his hand" to do a reaping work.

"And another angel emerged from the temple sanctuary, crying with a loud voice to the one seated on the cloud: 'Put your sickle in and reap, because the hour has come to reap, for the harvest of the earth is thoroughly ripe.' And the one seated on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped." (Revelation 14:15,16) It was very fitting that an angel should notify the king that the harvest was ripe and the time to reap was at hand, for Jesus, when interpreting the parable of the wheat and the weeds, said: "The reapers are angels." But the reaping is done under the King's supervision, and that is why he is pictured as having the sickle in his hand and as thrusting it in among the grain on the earth. The angel's announcement that it was harvesttime locates the time for fulfilling this harvest vision, as Jesus said:

"The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things, and the reapers are angels. Therefore, just as the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be in the conclusion of the system of things. The Son of man will send forth his angels, and they will collect out from his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and persons who are doing lawlessness, and they will pitch them into the fiery furnace. There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be. At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom." — Matthew 13:39-43.

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The conclusion of this system of things began in 1914, after the Gentile Times or "the appointed times of the nations" ended. (Luke 21: 24) So the symbolic harvest on earth would begin after that under the newly crowned King's supervision. According to Jesus' parable the harvesting requires or includes a separating work, the separating of the sons of the wicked one, the Devil, from the sons or heirs of the heavenly kingdom. Up till the beginning of this harvest the wicked Devil had sown many weedlike sons of his among the professed Christians, so that this resulted in a false presentation of what true Christianity was and is. His weedlike sons were modern Babylonians, those who worshiped according to the world empire of Babylonish religion. The time of the separating of these Babylonish religionists, including the imitation Christians, would be from 1919 onward, the year when Babylon the Great fell and was condemned to eternal destruction by God's tribunal.

The historical facts show that 1919 was the year when the remnant on earth of the 144,000 Kingdom heirs began to be freed from Great Babylon. In that year the message of God's established kingdom began to be preached from house to house and publicly by Jehovah's Christian witnesses in a fearless way. This preaching of the Kingdom as established in 1914 was in fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 24:14: "This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations."

As this Kingdom preaching and Bible instruction continued, more and more of the "sons of the kingdom" were separated and freed from Babylon the Great and from the rest of the Devil's visible organization. The number of these increased, as was disclosed by reports on the annual celebration of the Lord's evening meal on Nisan 14, until between 1931 and 1935. Then the annual celebration of the Lord's evening meal showed a steadily decreasing number of "sons of the kingdom" who

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partook of the unleavened bread and red wine at the Lord's supper. This indicated that the harvest of them had practically ceased and. that numbers of them were faithfully finishing their earthly Christian career as Jehovah's witnesses and were "dying in union with the Lord" and entering into the happiness foretold in Revelation 14:13. Thus as more were dying than were being delivered from Great Babylon, this steadily reduced the number of the anointed remnant of Kingdom heirs from year to year. The harvesting of these "sons of the kingdom" has been closing down.

In 1931 the anointed remnant embraced the Scriptural name "Jehovah's witnesses." In that same year a related work was brought to view, a marking work. This work took on more momentum in 1935, in which year it was disclosed to Jehovah's anointed remnant that the "great crowd" described by the apostle John in Revelation 7:9-17 were an earthly class of Godfearing people who would be delivered from modern Babylon the Great. These the anointed remnant of Kingdom heirs figuratively marked in their foreheads to identify them as being worshipers of Jehovah and subjects of his reigning King Jesus Christ. (Ezekiel 9:3, 4) These were the "other sheep" of the Shepherd-King Jesus Christ, whom he foretold in John 10:16.

As these "other sheep" associated themselves with the remnant, they also embraced the name Jehovah's witnesses. Thus as the harvest of the remnant of the "sons of the kingdom" closes down, the ingathering of the "other sheep" increases by the hundreds of thousands. This accounts for it that the report of the celebration of the Lord's evening meal worldwide on Monday night, April 8, 1963, shows that the remnant partaking of the bread and wine had decreased to 12,292,* whereas the total number of sheeplike people preaching the Kingdom good news during April had increased to 1,028,986. — Matthew 25:31-40.


* The grand total of persons attending the celebration of the Lord's evening meal was 1,693,752.
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The facts prove that the invisible Son of man, crowned and seated on the symbolic white cloud, has thrust into the earth his sharp sickle for separating work. Soon the earth will be reaped of all the "sons of the kingdom," the anointed Kingdom heirs. As the harvesting or reaping of these reaches its climax, and as preaching of the good news of the Kingdom publicly and from house to house increases and intensifies, the delivering of more of the "other sheep" from Babylon the Great goes on. These "other sheep" rejoice in the hope that their Shepherd-King will safely lead them through the destructive end of this system of things and on into the new order of things with its "new heavens and a new earth." (2 Peter 3:13) There they will gain eternal life on a paradise earth. In ancient times they were foreshadowed by the non-Jewish Nethinim and men slaves and girl slaves and male and female singers and the "sons of the servants of Solomon" who accompanied the Jewish remnant that left Babylon and returned to the Promised Land in 537 B.C. after Cyrus published his decree of release. — Ezra 1:1-6; 2:43-58. 64-70

All faithful Christian witnesses of Jehovah will escape what comes upon the religionists who remain with Great Babylon. A preview of what will come on such is given us after the apostle John describes the symbolic reaping of the earth. He shares this preview with us, saying: "And still another angel [the fifth one in this series] emerged from the temple sanctuary that is in heaven, he, too, having a sharp sickle." (Revelation 14:17) This calls to our notice the fact that the work to be done by this sickle will be done by means of holy angels under the command of the crowned King Jesus Christ. This angel class worships Jehovah as God, for it emerges "from the temple sanctuary that is in heaven." What does it do after the "harvest of the earth" is effected? Let us watch.

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"And still another angel [the sixth] emerged from the altar and he had authority over the fire. And he called out with a loud voice to the one that had the sharp sickle, saying: 'Put your sharp sickle in and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, because its grapes have become ripe.' And the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and he hurled it into the great wine press of the anger of God. And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out of the wine press as high up as the bridles of the horses, for a distance of a thousand six hundred furlongs [two hundred miles]." — Revelation 14:18-20.

This "vine of the earth" is distinctly different from the "true vine" of which Jesus' heavenly Father is the cultivator and which Jesus described in John 15:1-8. The true vine is Jesus Christ, and the 144,000 spiritual Israelites are branches in it. It produces much fruit, that the Cultivator Jehovah God may be glorified. So this "true vine" is the nation of spiritual Israel that produces the fruits of the kingdom of God. — Matthew 21:43.

On the contrary, the symbolic "vine of the earth" produces the fruits of "all the kingdoms of the world" over which Great Babylon reigns. Besides this, Satan the Devil is the god and ruler of these worldly kingdoms and he gave them their power, thrones and great authority. (Revelation 13:1, 2 ; 17:1-5, 18; Matthew 4: 8,9; Luke 4:5, 6; John 14:30; 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4) This vine is therefore the Devil's visible system of government over mankind. Ever since it was planted by means of Nimrod the mighty hunter it has produced an abundance of fruit, not for the glorification of Jehovah God, but for making the people drunk with fear and oppression.

In this time of judgment, ever since Babylon the Great fell, this "vine of the earth" has been loaded with clusters and its grapes have become ripe. It deserves to

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be cut down and destroyed, and the time approaches for it to be cut down by angelic means. The sixth angel who appeared "emerged from the altar" and calls out that the time is due for cutting the vine down.

As the altar is the place where the sacrificial fire was kept burning, this angel "had authority over the fire." He thus has authority over a destructive force. (Revelation 11: 5; 20:9) Since he emerges from God's altar, he appreciates the sacrifice of the Lamb of God and also the sacrifices of praises and of good works that the 144,000 spiritual Israelites offer to Jehovah God. So this angel pictures those angels who are "spirits for public service, sent forth to minister for those who are going to inherit salvation." (Hebrews 1:14; 13:12-16) These ministering angels know how the kingdoms of this world have made all these heirs of heavenly salvation suffer while offering their sacrifices to Jehovah God.

The sixth angel does not use fire to destroy the "vine of the earth" but calls upon the angel with the sharp sickle to cut it down. When the end comes upon this system of things after the good news of God's kingdom has been preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness, the angels under the King Jesus Christ will thrust the symbolic sickle to the base of this huge vine and cut it down. Jehovah's witnesses today on earth will not cut this ungodly vine down. However, they, like the apostle John, do publish advance notice to all the world that the vine will soon be cut down.

Because of its fruitage throughout the centuries and especially since the Gentile Times ended in 1914, this "vine of the earth" has come under the wrath of Jehovah God. For this reason, after it is cut down, it is not just left neglected on the earth to wither. Rather, the King's angelic forces hurl it "into the great wine press of the anger of God." The purpose of a winepress is to crush the grape clusters dumped into it. This symbolic winepress must be tremendous, for it must ac-

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commodate all the nations and kingdoms of this world. It is bigger than the valley of Jehoshaphat outside of Jerusalem, where, according to the symbolic prophecy of Joel 3:9-14, all the nations that fight against Jehovah God will be trodden down and annihilated. The "wine press" is deep and can accommodate the blood of the crushed grape clusters for a distance of two hundred miles. In it Jehovah's tremendous war organization of his holy heavenly angels under the lead of his crowned King Jesus Christ will do the treading and vent God's anger on the "vine."

The war between Jehovah's heavenly organization and Satan's visible earthly governmental organization is fought outside the heavenly city of Zion, for Revelation 14:20 says that "the wine press was trodden outside the city." The battle is fought at the earth, for there is where the nations and kingdoms of mankind are located. The winepress evidently symbolizes the cornered condition, the trapped condition, into which Almighty God by means of his Field Marshal Jesus Christ maneuvers the earthly enemy forces where their measure of guiltiness reaches its fullness and just at the time for Jehovah's judgment of condemnation to be executed on them. The "press" is big enough to catch all and allow escape for none.

It is at the time for God's war, this being suggested by the fact that the treading of the vine in the press is done, not by human feet, but by horses' hoofs; and in the Bible horses are a symbol of war. Because the vine is so big and so loaded with grape clusters, the blood of the crushed grapes comes out to "as high up as the bridles of the horses." But this depth of grape blood is not too great for Jehovah's "wine press," but it accommodates such a depth of blood for a distance of two hundred miles and horses can well cover that distance under direction of their riders.

Jehovah's crowned King Jesus Christ will be right in there, joining in with his angelic armies in treading the

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winepress of God's wrath against the "vine of the earth." He takes the lead in destroying the Devil's visible political organization, and in this treading he acts for God. — Revelation 19:11-16; Isaiah 63:1-7.

The treading pictured here corresponds to the crushing of all the worldly nations and kingdoms by the rocklike kingdom of God as foretold in Daniel 2:44, 45. This betokens a time of distress and tribulation such as the nations and peoples have never known since this world began until now, the like of which there will never be again. (Daniel 12:1, 4; Matthew 24:21, 22) Never again will that "vine of the earth" take root and fill this old earth with fruit of the most wicked kind. Jehovah's Messianic kingdom will ride to victory and will remain victorious, to rule undisputed over the "new earth."

From heaven the "true vine," planted on the celestial Mount Zion and made up of the Lamb of God and his 144,000 branches, will produce much fruit for the glory of the divine Cultivator and for the life and happiness of the obedient earthly subjects of Jehovah's reigning King Jesus Christ.

If we are faithful in fearing God, giving him the glory and worshiping him as the Creator, we may be preserved to witness in actuality the treading of the symbolic winepress by God's King, just as aged John saw it in symbolic vision. Almighty God can preserve us throughout the treading period, that we may see and rejoice at the glorious triumph of his Messianic King. Giving assurance of this, Joel's prophecy, after telling of the treading of the nations in the "wine press," says: "Heaven and earth certainly will rock; but Jehovah will be a refuge for his people, and a fortress for the sons of Israel. And you people will have to know that I am Jehovah your God, residing in Zion my holy mountain." (Joel 3:16, 17) That means their surviving without dying into his new world.



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